LAS VEGAS — Knicks fan can breathe a little bit easier today.
The Knicks new lottery pick, RJ Barrett, came on late to secure a double-double but their 2018 lottery pick Kevin Knox II had a brutal 3-of-15, four–turnover performance as the Knicks were blasted by the Raptors, 85-72, at Thomas & Mack Center on Tuesday.
The Knicks, who were Vegas betting favorites to win the summer league, fell to 0-3 and will not make the playoff round. They finish up the regular schedule Wednesday against the Lakers.
After two brutal shooting games, Barrett was more in control, moved the ball and got to the basket with more aplomb. He racked up 17 points with 10 rebounds and six assists. He shot 6-of-14 but just 1-of-4 from 3-point range.
“He had a great bounce-back,’’ Knicks summer league coach Jud Buechler said. “He looked much more comfortable out there, coming off the pick-and-roll well. I really liked the way he played. I’m very happy for him.’’
Barrett was just 2-of-7 at halftime but put forth a 10-point fourth quarter during garbage time.
“The jump from Game 2 to Game 3, you could see him start to figure the whole thing out,’’ Buechler said. “The speed, the pace and getting space on the pick-and-roll and he shot the ball a little bit better.’’
Barrett, who didn’t talk to the media after his poor showing in the second game, seemed relieved.
“Like I said, I hadn’t played the game in a while and I shook some rust off and got better,’’ Barrett said. “I know how to play basketball.’’
Barrett said because of the “bigger guys’’ in the NBA, there’s an adjustment to be made from college, especially going to the basket, his bread and butter.
“It’s exactly what I anticipated,’’ Barrett said. “It’s the NBA summer league and everyone’s out there fighting. It’s been a great experience for me. It’s basketball. It’s a fun game. I know I’ll figure it out.”
Barrett said he didn’t get down after shooting bricks in the first two games, going 7-of- 33, including 2-of-13 from 3-point range.
“It’s just a game, it was my first two games — even this game wasn’t so good,’’ Barrett said. “I just continue to get better every day.’’
Meanwhile, after a solid opener, Knox’s summer league has taken a downturn. It’s surprising considering how he dominated play here last July. He finished with 15 points as he did well in getting to the line for 8-of-11 free throws but he was 1-of-8 from the 3-point line.
“He’s really shot the ball really well this summer in practice and games,’’ Buechler said. “Maybe more activity. I’m pushing him to rebound more and be more aggressive on the glass so he can get it and push it for us. He’ll be fine.’’
Second-round pick Ignas Brazdeikas, after a 30-point night Sunday, leveled off with a nine-point, 4-of-9, four-turnover performance.